ALLEGHANY CO. (WFXR) — Donald Kelley, or “Donnie” to his friends, disappeared at the end of March last year, with his family reporting him missing in early April.
His daughter Kristina Wilhelm has been following the search for her father ever since. Law enforcement says they’re investigating his disappearance as a homicide.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s no longer here on this earth anymore,” said Wilhelm.
She and loved ones are calling for public attention to get the word out about Donnie’s case. Angelia Travis knew him for years and was the first to call Kristina and tell her Donnie was missing.
“When I called him and said it’s an emergency, I need you to call me — and when he didn’t, I knew something was wrong,” she said.
Donnie’s sister Melissa Kelley is one of many family members calling for more from local law enforcement and asking that they make this case more known to the public.
“This should be huge, not only missing, but murdered and then hidden,” she said.
A large crowd of family and friends attended a press conference Monday, where Alleghany County Sheriff Kevin Hall detailed the investigation so far.
Sheriff Hall says they’ve filed 26 search warrants, conducted 57 interviews, and collected 49 pieces of evidence. They’ve also received help from other local, state, and federal agencies. When asked about lengthy gaps in the case’s timeline, the Sheriff says some lab results took up to eight months, and following leads was also time-consuming.
“It’s a lot of groundwork,” he said.
WFXR pulled one of the search warrants from Botetourt County. It says Donnie’s blood along with bullets were found in his home. It details other findings, including that Donnie’s phone moved around after his disappearance.
“We feel like we have a person of interest. We feel like we have a good bit of circumstantial evidence in this case, but that will be a determination by the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office,” said Sheriff Hall.
He says they’ve submitted their findings to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office and are waiting to hear back before taking the next steps in the case. In the meantime, Donnie’s family hopes and prays.
The Sheriff’s Office says if you have any information connected to the disappearance of Donnie Kelley to reach out to Captain Scott Fischer at 540-965-1770 ext.106 or to Lt. Richard Shull at 540-965-1770 ext. 107.